Reviews

Review: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Title: Darling Rose Gold
Author: Stephanie Wrobel
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Date published: March 17th 2020
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 320

Rating: 3/5

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

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Crazy mother reunites with crazier daughter.

Patty, who has Munchausen by Proxy, has abused her daughter Rose Gold for years. During her 18 years under her mother’s care, Rose Gold suffered from malnutrition and other ailments that have resulted in balding and rotting in her teeth.

After standing to testify against her mother, Rose Gold finds herself free at last when Patty is sentenced to prison. But not for long. After 5 years, her mother is out again, hoping to reunite once again with her estranged but beloved daughter. But both set out with agendas to meet.

What I Liked:

  • Stephanie Wrobel didn’t try to victimize Rose Gold or portray her as innocent in any way. Rose Gold certainly not a likeable character and she doesn’t try to be. During her five years free of her mother’s grasp, Rose Gold tries and fails to integrate into society and lead a normal life. With each thwarted attempt, she seems to spiral deeper towards a darker and more menacing side.
    • It gives a darker glimpse on humanity and begs you to wonder how much is nature and how much is nurture.
  • The story is told in both perspectives of mother and daughter and it seems that the apple doesn’t fall hard from the tree. Both are cold and deranged as their thoughts reveal how the consequences of abusing and being abused has changed them in different ways.
    • They are both unreliable and sometimes when they recount their past together, it’s hard to know who is telling the truth. Rose Gold speaks of her mother’s acts of poisoning her to keep her dependent on her mother. But Patty reveals how Rose Gold is more cunning than an average child, taking advantage of her illness to seek favors and gain attention. Crazy runs in the family.

What I Disliked:

  • It’s hard to believe that after everything that’s happened, Patty is allowed to move in with Rose Gold or that Rose Gold would even be willing to let her in. Despite having the motive to seek revenge, I don’t understand how that can eclipse the amount of trauma and abuse she’s faced.
  • The pacing of the story felt a bit off towards the end of the book. At the beginning, the plot was slow and took the time to lay out the scene for us, but then so much happened in the last 20% of the book.
  • The ending felt unrealistic and glossed over. The book had a great buildup with the back stories and tensions between the character, but the execution at the end was underwhelming.

Darling Rose Gold is a chilling and dark story about a mother’s destructive love and a daughter’s revenge. If you enjoyed Sharp Objects or The Act, definitely give Darling Rose Gold a shot.

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